Monthly Archives: March 2012

Lavender Gelato

Standard

Image

Gelato is ice cream’s smoother more flavorful Italian cousin. In Italy there are gelaterie shops everywhere. The trend came to the US several years ago, but there are still many people I meet that are not familiar with gelato. It is best made in small batches. It has less butterfat than most ice cream and there are a few secrets to making it smoother. Most recipes for gelato use only egg yolks, no whites. The yolk works as a stabilizer in the process. The other secret is to cook the custard and then after straining let it sit for for several hours after pasteurization is complete for the milk proteins to hydrate, or bind. This hydration reduces the size of the ice crystals, making a smoother texture in the final product.

I have an Italian gelato machine. But you do not have to have one to make good gelato. It does help if you have a machine which stirs while refrigerating, but you can still get good results with an old fashioned ice cream machine. My machine is made by Lusso and I call her Lucille.Image

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup dried culinary lavender flowers
  • Zest of one lemon in large strips (use a vegetable peeler not a zester)
  • 7 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Purple food coloring paste (buy this in cake decorating section of a craft store) optional
Method: 
  1. Bring milk, lemon zest and lavender almost to a boil
  2. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 1 hour
  3. Strain and discard lavender & lemon peel
  4. Add cream with a whisk
  5. Reheat strained milk & cream until bubbles form around edge of the pan
  6. Beat the egg yolks with with sugar and a pinch of salt in a stainless steel bowl that will fit over a saucepan of water. Beat vigorously until the mixture is yellow and creamy (about 3 minutes)
  7. Add a ladle of the hot milk/cream to the egg/sugar mixture and continue to whisk, then add the remaining milk/cream mixture very slowly
  8. Maintain a simmer in the bottom of the double boiler, do not allow it to come to a rolling boil
  9. Beat by hand or with a mixer while cooking for about 15 minutes, do not allow it to boil
  10. When the back of a wooden spoon is coated with the mixture and you can draw a line with your finger it is ready.
  11. Stir in the vanilla and pour through a strainer into another bowl that will fit into a larger bowl fitted with ice
  12. Whisk in the coloring if you want to use it
  13. Place plastic wrap over the entire top of the mixture, touching it all the way around. This creates a seal and will not allow a skin to form.
  14. Place the bowl with the mixture in it into the bowl of ice and allow to rest until all of the ice melts.
  15. At this point you can place it in the refrigerator to chill further, as long as over night.
Image
Process according to your machine’s directions. Put into plastic containers and freeze or serve immediately
 You might want to try one of my other favorite gelato recipes: Salted Caramel Gelato  pictured below: 

Soda Bread and Irish Cheddar Bread Pudding

Standard

Image

Soda Bread and Irish Cheddar Bread Pudding

This bread pudding is a sort of a “two fer”, as it also includes a recipe for really great Irish Soda Bread. Soda Bread does not use yeast, it somewhat resembles a very large biscuit. It is easy to make and you will only use about half of the loaf for this recipe. Try toasting the leftovers with butter and jam.

It is March and we did an Irish Fine Dining Dinner for St. Patrick’s Day. I was not the host, so I only did three dishes, the first of which I am sharing with you today.

Ingredients:

For the Soda Bread:

2 Cups all-purpose flour + 2 tablespoons for dusting

1 teaspoon baking soda (be sure it is fresh)

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

2 Tablespoons fresh dill chopped

1 tablespoon Caraway seeds

1 Cup of buttermilk (shake before pouring)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Pudding:

4 large fresh eggs

2 cups whole milk

½ cup of heavy cream

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 cups grated Irish Cheddar Cheese

¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Paprika

6 6 ounce ramekins or a 2 quart baking dish

Method

FOR THE SODA BREAD:

Preheat oven to 350°

In a food processor add the flour, baking soda and salt. Pulse a few times. Add the caraway, pepper and dill, pulse a few more times. Add the buttermilk and butter. Pulse again till it just begins to form a ball.

Place on a lightly floured surface and gently knead into a smooth ball and flatten into a 6 inch flattened round. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Place on an ungreased baking sheet.

With a very sharp knife, cut an X in the top of the dough about ½ inch deep. This assures even cooking.

Use a small sieve to dust the top with additional flour.

Bake on middle shelf (I also use a baking stone for even heat) for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and a hollow sound is made when tapped.

Cool on a rack. This can be done one day ahead.

FOR THE PUDDINGS:

Preheat oven to 350°

Spray the ramekins with olive oil

Cut ½ of the bread into cubes and place them in the ramekins about half way up. Reserve remaining cubes.

Make the custard by whisking the eggs, milk, cream, salt & pepper. Stir in the cheeses. Pour into a pitcher.

Place the ramekins in a hotel pan or 9 X 13 baking dish, cover the bread with custard, making sure some cheese goes in. Then add additional cubes to the top of the ramekin 3/4 of the way from the top. Pour all of the mixture into the ramekins, filling them to the top. Sprinkle with a little paprika. Add about 2 inches of water to the hotel pan and bake 35-40 minutes. They are finished when a knife is inserted and comes out clean.

Remove from the water and place on a towel or rack and allow to rest for 15 minutes or more.

Eggplant Rollatini

Standard

My Manhattan Kitchen

Involtini di Melanzane con Salsiccia e Mozzarella to be exact! I had two big eggplants, some spicy homemade Italian sausages and lots of great herbs and tomatoes. I sent a note to my friend and fellow blogger Peter Francis Battaglia (whom I also call Saint Peter sometimes) asking him if he had a good rollatini recipe that did not require ricotta. He sent me one via messages on Facebook and I made it last night. I even had some for breakfast. I served it on spaghetti that was simply tossed with butter, EVOO and some garlic. Here is the recipe pretty much as he sent it to me. I added just a couple of things in the mix.  This is a recipe that can be made *creatively* and you can easily increase the amounts if you want to. I had a little extra filling left, so I just stuffed it in around…

View original post 280 more words

Aloha Rolls

Standard

These slightly sweet rolls are quick and easy to make. They freeze well and the dough can be saved in the refrigerator for up to a week so you can make them fresh for each meal. If you want a more traditional Hawaiian Sweet Bread Roll add another egg or two.

Ingredients:
2 (1/4 ounce) packages active dry yeast or about 1 tablespoon 1 cup lukewarm water (105 to 115 F)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
3/4 cup raw sugar or honey
1 1/2 cups warm water (more if needed)
6 1/2-7 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Butter

Method:

  • Dissolve the yeast in a large mixing bowl with 1 cup of lukewarm water and let it stand for about 5 minutes
  • Add the oil, egg, sugar or honey, salt and the rest of the water and mix it with a whisk, let stand again for a few minutes
  • Add the flour and mix on medium with a dough hook until the dough forms a ball. It should be a moist dough, but not very sticky. Add a little more flour if needed. Allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes then knead  for 5 minutes
  • Put a small circle of olive oil in the bottom of a large bowl and put the ball of dough smooth side down into the bowl, then flip it over and cover with plastic wrap. And allow to rise for 90 minutes or until doubled
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and get a large sheet pan spray with cooking spray or line with partchment paper or silicone mat
  • Punch down the dough and pinch off pieces of the dough and roll into golf ball size for dinner rolls or “slider” buns, or tennis ball sizes for sandwich rolls. Arrange the dough on the pan about 1-2 inches apart then cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with olive oil or Pam. Allow to rise for 20 minutes. The rolls will not quite double in bulk on the second rising
  • Bake rolls for 18 to 30 (shorter time for small rolls) mintues or until golden brown. When they come out of the oven brush lightly with olive oil or take a stick of butter and rub on the tops. You can also add seeds to the tops immediately after buttering. These can also be made into hot dog buns by making 4″ X 1 1/2 inch torpedo shapes and allowing to rise in the same manner. They make AWESOME hamburger buns too!

Spanakopita

Standard

Spanakopita! Fun little hand pies filled with nutritious spinach and feta.

Ingredients

  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained, I squeeze out the excess juice using a potato ricer.
  • 1 cup Greek or Bulgarian feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon dried Greek oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 (16-ounce) package frozen phyllo pastry, thawed1/2 cup butter melted

Method

  1. Combine first 9 ingredients, stir well and allow to rest
  2. Unfold phyllo, and cut into 4″ strips width wise, cover with damp cloth towels to prevent drying out
  3. Using a pastry bush apply a thin coating of butter to a strip and repeat with 3 more strips. Add a dollop of the filling in one corner and fold over and over in triangle shape.
  4. Place on a Silpat sheet and brush with a tiny bit more butter
  5. Repeat this process until you run out of filling or phyllo.

Bake at 425° for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

*note: These are best served fresh while the phyllo is still crispy. If you have leftovers, heat them in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes to crisp up before serving. These go great with my Greek Lemon, Egg and Rice Soup 

Avgolemono Soup (Greek Egg and Meyer Lemon Soup with Rice)

Standard


In just 30 minutes you can whip this amazingly flavorful soup up. It is good hot or chilled. I served it with Spanakopita (click for the recipe).

INGREDIENTS 

3 cups chicken stock (homemade preferred) if you are using box stock or broth, simmer it down and reduce it by half (this means you need twice as much)

1/4 cup rice or orzo (optional, but I like it)

4 egg yolks

2 egg whites

Freshly squeezed juice of 4 Meyer lemons (if using another type of lemon, use one less)

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons minced dill, mint, chives or fennel

Lemon zest from one lemon

One thin lemon slice for each serving

METHOD

  • Add rice or orzo to the chicken stock, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer till rice (20 minutes) or pasta (10 minutes) is cooked once cooked add 1/2 of the lemon juice
  • Put egg whites in a container to be whipped (I use a stick blender with a whip attachment, but you can use a food processor or hand mixer to whip the whites)
  • Place yolks in a mixing bowl
  • Whisk 1/2 cup of the hot chicken stock/rice into yolks until well blended, then add the remaining stock/rice mixture stirring till blended
  • Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form
  • Marry 1/2 cup of the stock/rice/yolk mixture to the egg whites, then fold that mixture into the stock/rice/yolk being careful not to deflate.
  • Taste for salt and lemon juice, adding more as needed. Ladle into warm bowls (or allow to chill and serve in stemmed glasses), sprinkle with herbs and lemon zest and add one lemon slice.

    Yield: 4 to 6 servings. This does keep well in a covered container, but should be used in 1-2 days and be very careful when re-heating not to allow it to boil.

Beef Stroganoff

Standard

This is an extremely easy recipe and so great as comfort food! Elena Molokhovets‘ classic Russian cookbook (1861) gives the first known recipe for Govjadina po-strogonovski, s gorchitseju “Beef à la Stroganov, with mustard” which involves lightly floured beef cubes (not strips) sautéed, sauced with prepared mustard and bouillon, and finished with a small amount of sour cream: no onions, no mushrooms. An 1890 competition is sometimes mentioned in the dish’s history, but both the recipe and the name existed before then. A 1912 recipe adds onions and tomato paste, and serves it with crisp potato straws, which are considered the traditional side dish in Russia. The version given in the 1938 Larousse Gastronomique includes beef strips, and onions, with either mustard or tomato paste optional.

After the fall of Imperial Russia, the recipe was popularly served in the hotels and restaurants of China before the start of the Second World War. Russian and Chinese immigrants, as well as U.S. servicemen stationed in pre-Communist China, brought several variants of the dish to the United States, which may account for its popularity during the 1950s. It came to Hong Kong in the late fifties, with Russian restaurants and hotels serving the dish with rice, but not sour cream. In the version often prepared in the USA today in restaurants and hotels, it consists of strips of beef filet with a mushroom, onion, and sour cream sauce, and is served over rice, potatoes or pasta.

In the UK and Australia, a recipe very similar to that commonly found in the USA has become popular, generally served with rice. British pubs usually serve the dish to a creamy white wine style recipe, whereas more ‘authentic’ versions are often red stews with a scoop of sour cream separately served on top.

Beef Stroganoff is also very popular in China and Portugal, under the name estrogonofe or “Strogonoff”. The Brazilian variant includes diced beef or strips of beef (usually filet mignon) with tomato sauce, onions, mushrooms and heavy whipping cream. Stroganoff is also often made with strips of chicken breast rather than beef (also called fricassee in some restaurants in Brazil). Brazilians also prepare stroganoff with chicken or even shrimp instead of beef. It is commonly served with crisp potato straws, as in Russia, but with the addition of white rice. Sometimes one can also see creative servings of estrogonofe, such as a crepe filling, a topping for baked potatoes, or on pizzas. Many recipes and variations exist: with or without wine, with canned sweet corn, with ketchup instead of tomato sauce, etc.

Stroganoff is also popular in the Nordic countries. In Sweden, a common variant is korv-stroganoff (sausage stroganoff), which uses the local falukorv sausage as a substitute for the beef. In Finland, the dish is called makkarastroganoff, makkara meaning any kind of sausage. Beef stroganoff is, however, also a common dish.

Stroganoff’s popularity extends to Japan, where it is most commonly served with white rice, or white rice seasoned with parsley and butter. Its popularity increased dramatically with the introduction of “instant sauce cubes” from S&B corporation. These are cubes with dried seasoning and thickening agents that can be added to water, onion, beef, and mushrooms to make a stroganoff-style sauce. Additionally, Japanese home recipes for Stroganoff frequently call for “non-traditional” Japanese ingredients, such as small amounts of soy sauce.

Beef Stroganoff is popular in Iran, where it is made with strips of lean beef fried with onion and mushroom, then further cooked in whipped cream and topped with crisp potato straws.

After doing some research I decided I did want mushrooms and onions and I found some recipes from the old country which included nutmeg… so why not add that? I have a nutmeg tree. I also elected to use red wine instead of the white wine that some recipes called for. I would like to make it with the traditional potato strips, but this time I went back to my Great Grandmother’s Egg Noodles instead. She would make them on Sundays and hang them over a broom stick to dry. I love them with anything saucy. I served this with red cabbage salad and broiled tomatoes. Everything went perfectly with some Burgundy wine. Here are the recipes:

Broiled Tomatoes:

Preheat the oven to 350°

Cut the tops of ripe tomatoes. Sprinkle with a bit of sugar, salt and pepper (lots of pepper).

Place in the preheated over for 15 minutes. Remove and top with grated Parmesan Cheese.

Turn on the broiler and place tomatoes under the broiler until the cheese melts and browns slightly.

Beef Stroganoff (Govjadina po-strogonovski, s gorchitseju “Beef à la Stroganov, with mustard” )

“This recipe is from the “old” Russian Tea Room Restaurant in NYC (before the original owner’s daughter took it over.) Authentic in flavor and preparation (no short cuts) and was always served over RICE (not noodles) at the restaurant.”

Ingredients

    • 2 lbs lean boneless sirloin (trimmed of fat and gristle) or 2 lbs bottom round steaks, in one piece ( trimmed of fat and gristle)
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 2 tablespoons flour
    • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 1 medium onion, minced
    • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
    • ½ cup red wine
    • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
    • ½ lb mushrooms, thinly sliced
    • 1 teaspoon of paprika
    • 1/2 of a nutmeg seed grated (or if you are using pre-grated, 1/2 teaspoon)
    • A splash of brandy
    • 1 cup sour cream at room temperature

Method

  1. Cut meat into 1/2 inch thick slices. Sprinkle meat with salt, flour and pepper, let stand for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat butter in a frying pan or wok. Add the onion, cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, then add the mushrooms, saute for another 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add meat to pan and cook for 3 minutes, turning meat to brown evenly.
  4. Stir in mustard, and cook 1 minute more. Add 1/2 cup wine and tomato paste. Reduce heat to low, cover pan and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add the splash of brandy, paprika and grate the nutmeg into the mix. Simmer for another 2 minutes on low.
  6. Add sour cream.
  7. Over lowest possible heat, simmer for 5 minutes to heat through. Do NOT let it boil.
  8. Serve over hot noodles, rice or potatoes.